VMI drops series finale to Western Carolina
A six-run eighth inning was the difference as the Western Carolina Catamounts defeated the VMI Keydets, 11-6, in the nightcap of a doubleheader in Southern Conference action Friday night in Cullowhee, N.C. Despite the result, VMI’s first loss in a doubleheader since March 15, the Keydets won the series 2-1 to win only their second series ever in Cullowhee in a series that dates back to 1971.
The Keydets (20-28, 12-12 SoCon) nursed a 6-5 lead into the eighth inning, but a two-out RBI single by WCU’s (21-28, 11-13) Bradley Strong tied the game and things kept on from there. RBI singles by Pierce Suttles and Brett Pope made it 8-6, and Jason Smith capped the scoring with a three-run home run off Taylor Edens.
On the mound, Jonathan Kelley (0-3) took the loss as he was charged with two runs and did not retire a hitter. Brendan Nail moved to 3-3 with two scoreless innings.
WCU jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Brandon Barbery. Matt Smith led off with a sing and three batters later, Pierce Suttles singled home a run to stake the Catamounts to an early lead.
The lead did not last long, however, as Matt Winn led off the second with one of his five walks on the day. Collin Fleischer then followed with a long home run to left center, his second in as many at-bats, to give the Keydets the lead. Two batters later, Peyton Maddox singled and Brandon Angus followed with a two-run shot to make it a 4-1 game.
Western tied it, 4-4, in the third. Danny Bermudez reached on a throwing error to open the inning and one out later, Kramer Ferrell singled. Suttles then followed with a three-run shot to tie the score.
The Catamounts took the lead in the fourth on a home run by Bermudez, but the Keydets battled back in the fifth. Maddox led off with a single and one out later, advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ray Lopez was hit by a pitch and Jordan Tarsovich singled to load the bases. David Geary then followed with a two-run single to give the Keydets a lead they would hold until the eighth.
Offensively, Suttles was the standout of the game with his 3 for 5, five-RBI game. Maddox went 2 for 3 with two runs scored in his first career multi-hit game.
VMI baseball returns to action Wednesday, when the Keydets open the Southern Conference Tournament in Charleston, S.C. An announcement will be made regarding game time when a formal release is made by the Southern Conference.